Xbox Series S devs get a boost with extra memory from Microsoft

Xbox Series S devs get a boost with extra memory from Microsoft

Microsoft and Xbox Series have announced that they will be giving developers working on the Xbox One S more memory to work with, improving graphics performance and increasing the potential of what games can look like on the console in the future. While details are still light at the moment, Microsoft said that developers would have access to an additional 1GB of memory starting this month, which should lead to better-looking games in the future, as well as improved backward compatibility with older Xbox One titles.

History: How graphics cards have changed

Developers will now have access to 12GB of GDDR5 on the Xbox Series S, which is twice the memory available on previous versions. Microsoft says the extra power will allow developers to create better textures and better particle effects for their games.

This isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt to beef up performance on its gaming console. It previously gave developers Xbox Series access to 1GB of GDDR3 memory in 2007 and 3GB of GDDR5 on its Xbox One in 2013. Now it appears that it wants to be at least on par with Sony, which included 12GB of GDDR5 RAM in its PlayStation 4 Pro.

What is GDDR6?

A new memory specification from JEDEC, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council, is promising speeds of 16Gbps or higher with a target voltage of 1.35V. GDDR6 can store up to 10 times as much data as GDDR5 and because it uses less power, it can also run at a higher speed. The new memory will not only be used in graphics cards for PCs but also Xbox Series S devs get a boost with extra memory from Microsoft consoles.

The big news here is that GDDR6 runs at one-sixth of GDDR5′s power consumption. If you’re working with an Xbox Series S dev kit and have maxed out on clock speed, adding more cores and running up your GPU’s power won’t give you much more oomph. Instead, developers can now just add more RAM to their dev kits for another way to improve performance.

With game makers getting access to developer kits before we do—or ever will Xbox Series in most cases—it’s also exciting to think about what they might already be cooking up that we haven’t seen yet.

Why Does This Matter For Gamers?

Games look better with more memory! Microsoft has already put this to the test. A demo called Pixar’s Lightstream, a beta version of a new high-fidelity real-time renderer and 2D rendering technique that Pixars is developing, showed off how much extra memory could help in one particular department: lighting. The demo utilized the new series S dev kit, which offers 8GB of DDR3 DRAM.

With 8GB of DRAM, the development team was able to go from sampling four light sources per pixel to eight per pixel. This doubling allowed for richer textures and complex materials with no performance penalty.

The Future Of Console Gaming

Ever since the introduction of Sony’s Playstation 4, many people have considered the console a cheaper and more powerful alternative to the Xbox. Microsoft has addressed this with their new Xbox Series S, which will be 25% faster with eight cores. With 16GB of RAM and extra graphics memory,

developers will now have extra room to work with to improve graphics performance. With this new system Microsoft is emphasizing performance over visuals, but in a world where games are being played on all platforms, Microsoft is still at a disadvantage when it comes to graphics quality.

What This Means For Developers

Developers are now able to make even better games with the extra memory from Microsoft. For example, new AAA titles might have better graphics. Increased player immersion will be a good result of this extra memory boost.

Final Thoughts On Xbox Memory Improvements

This is a positive change, and will likely lead to a boost in in-game graphics with more memory. Whether this leads to more advanced games or better visuals in existing games is up for debate, but developers will now have the ability to make bigger and better games with Xbox Series S. It’s unclear what other benefits there are for the new console yet; Microsoft is holding most of its cards close to its chest until its official unveiling in June. Stay tuned!

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